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Thursday 01, Nov 2012

  Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

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Anti-Doping Law Flouted By Ban On Armstrong

According to experts, the decision of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to ban @Lance Armstrong and stripping him of his seven Tour de France wins rides roughshod over established anti-doping rules.

Many sport law specialists have remarked that the anti-doping agency report that triggered the downfall of the disgraced cyclist and the endorsement of the same by the governing body of cycling, UCI, ignored the statute of limitations that ordinarily applies in such cases.

Lance Armstrong was banned for life and stripped of all his titles. His results after August 1998 were annulled and all his sponsors, including Nike, left him. This was after former teammates of the cyclist (Frankie Andreu, Michael Barry, Tom Danielson, Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Christian Vande Velde, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie) condemned him with sworn eyewitness testimonies saying that Armstrong used and even encouraged the use of performance enhancing drugs and even threatened those who refused to take drugs by telling them their place in the team will be given to someone else.

Now the specialists suggest that Armstrong may even have grounds for making an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport over the decision.

Antonio Rigozzi, a doping law professor at the university of Neuchatel in Switzerland, said the case is certainly unique in its scale but it is not a reason not to apply or even ignore the (anti-doping) rules, as we have seen.

According to anti-doping rules, there is a limit of eight years to bring alleged violation cases but eyebrows were raised in legal circles about the agreements made with the former teammates of the cyclist to testify against him.

Alexis Schoeb, a Swiss lawyer specializing in sport, remarked that the fact that former cyclists who are currently owning up the use of drugs are treated in another way and the eight-year limitation has been respected while there is no such rule in the case of Lance Armstrong and this surely suggests that there is a touch of double standards.

USADA pulled off a political coup by allowing access to the public on its website to a very detailed report that practically made any appeal doomed to failure, French lawyer Jean-Jacques Bertrand said and added that dispassionate judges who apply the law as it stands are required for handling this case.

Meanwhile, more humiliation is on the way for Armstrong as his effigy will be burned at a Kent town’s annual bonfire celebration to mark a failed 1605 plot to blow up parliament and kill King James I. A 30ft (9m) model of the Texan rider will go up in flames in Edenbridge. With this, the cyclist joins the list of Cherie Blair, Katie Price, Gordon Brown, Mario Balotelli, Wayne Rooney, former French president Jacques Chirac, ex-British prime minister Tony Blair, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and Russell Brand; effigies of all of them were burned in the past. Armstrong’s effigy holds a sign reading: “For Sale — Racing Bike. No longer required.” The effigy of Lance Armstrong also sports a badge around its neck that says “Jim Fixed It For Me”, a reference to the late British television presenter Jimmy Savile who was accused of widespread child sex abuse.

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Wednesday 31, Oct 2012

  No Respite For Disgraced Cyclist, Loses Key To The City Of Adelaide

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No respite for disgraced cyclist, loses key to the city of adelaide

 

The woes of seven-time Tour de France winner and disgraced cyclist, Lance Armstrong, are increasing with every passing day. After being banned by the United States Anti-doping Agency (USADA) and stripped of all his titles, the cyclist has just lost the key to the City of Adelaide.

Adelaide City Council, in an unprecedented move, voted to withdraw the honor for Armstrong less than a year after it decided to award the key. The council voted 6-1 for stripping the cyclist of the honor with Tony Williamson dissenting. With this, the cyclist becomes the first of 33 key recipients to lose the honor. A week back, Lord Mayor Stephen Yarwood said the cyclist would be retaining the key since he had raised the profile of the Tour Down Under and cancer research. However, the council is expected to remove the cyclist’s name from its honor board rather than physically retrieve the key. This move came after a vandal splattered red paint on the poster of the banned cyclist above the Nike shop in Rundle Mall.

In the last few weeks, Lance Armstrong has lost much of his legacy with major sponsors like Nike, and even some smaller ones like Anheuser-Busch and Trek bicycles dropping the cyclist. If that was not all, a previously unheard sworn deposition from New Zealand rider Stephen Swart in a 2006 American court case is back to haunt the cyclist. Swart alleged that Armstrong and members of his USPS team bribed him and his team to throw the final two legs of a series of races in 1993. It was alleged that the cyclist offered a bribe of $50,000 to Swart and his team to not “be aggressive and challenge,” in the last two races. Swart said that he could not understand why the cyclist made such an offer as he would have won anyway and added that they got their money a few weeks after his victory. It is believed that legendary Australian cyclist and former Armstrong mentor Phil Anderson were allegedly in the hotel room when the bribery deal was made between the two and Anderson said he could not recall such a deal but denied it happening either.

His ex-fiancee Sheryl Crow was also interviewed by federal agents in late 2011 after multiple witnesses encouraged them to press her for information about the cyclist and the doping program that propped up his Tour de France teams. This was after many witnesses said Crow would have been privy to details about the blood transfusions the cyclist is accused of orchestrating. The cyclist was even accused of encouraging teammates to use performance enhancing drugs and replacing cyclists who refused to use those drugs. Armstrong has still maintained his innocence but decided to abandon his legal challenge to the USADA while those who were made victims of his strong-arm tactics feel relieved and vindicated after the USADA report brought an end to the phony empire of wealth, adulation, and power that was believed to be protected at all costs.

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Wednesday 17, Oct 2012

  Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game

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Lance Armstrong’s Cat-And-Mouse Game

Disgraced seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong recently said he wanted to see the names of all his accusers. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) soon obliged him by giving him 26 names, including that of 11 former teammates. The agency even provided him with evidence of 200 pages filled with vivid details, from hotel rooms transformed into makeshift blood transfusion centers to the ex-wife of the cyclist rolling pills of cortisone into foil and handing them out to all the cyclists.

The agency remarked that Lance Armstrong’s desire to win at all costs was what made him go dependent on first EPO and then blood transfusions and other performance enhancing drugs like growth hormone and testosterone. He tried the biggest tricks in the game to run the most sophisticated doping program in cycling and had the habit of running from places whenever and wherever anti-doping team came to test him. From 1999-2004, Armstrong won the Tour as leader of the U.S. Postal Service team and again in 2005 with the Discovery Channel as the primary sponsor.

USADA accused Armstrong of depending on performance enhancing drugs to fuel his victories and more ruthlessly, to expect and to require that his teammates. Among the 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong are Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, and George Hincapie. The USADA report said Hincapie alerted Armstrong when he found drug testers at the hotel in 2000 after which Armstrong dropped out of the race to avoid being tested. The USADA also interviewed Toronto cyclist Michael Barry, Frankie Andreu, Tom Danielson, Levi Leipheimer, Stephen Swart, Jonathan Vaughters, and David Zabriskie besides Andreu’s wife, Betsy, who was one of Armstrong’s most consistent and unapologetic critics.

The report went to the governing body of cycling, UCI, and it also went to the World Anti-Doping Agency that also has the right to appeal but so far has supported the position of the USADA in the case against Lance Armstrong.

Recently, Canadian cyclist Michael Barry released a statement in which he admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs after feeling pressure to perform from the United States Postal Service Cycling Team.

Armstrong insisted that he never cheated though he find it easy not to fight the USADA charges than to save his reputation and integrity by contesting the charges levied against him. His attorney, Tim Herman, called the report a one-sided hatchet job — a taxpayer funded tabloid piece rehashing old, disproved, unreliable allegations based largely on axe-grinders, serial perjurers, coerced testimony, sweetheart deals and threat-induced stories. Herman, in a letter sent to USADA attorneys, said dismissed any evidence provided by Landis and Hamilton and said the riders were “serial perjurers and have told diametrically contradictory stories under oath.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart said the cyclist was given the chance to take his case to arbitration and declined and rather decided to accept the sanctions in August. Once he decided not to contest the charges, the anti-doping agency stripped him of all his titles and banned him for life and now Armstrong’s bronze medal at the Sydney Olympics is also in the danger of getting lost. However, the International Olympic Committee will wait for cycling’s governing body to act on the doping case before it thinks about taking away his Olympic bronze medal from the 2000 Sydney Games

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